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The Last Man Standing

BUNKERVILLE, NV–Rancher Cliven Bundy, 67, is a father of fourteen children and owns a 150-acre ranch in Nevada. His herd of cattle graze in an area called Gold Butte, which is currently under the control of the Bureau of Land Management. In 1998, BLM outlawed cattle grazing in the area to protect the environment for the endangered desert tortoise. Bundy quit paying his fees in 1993 to the BLM and subsequently ignored the rule, which has been inciting the ire of the federal government for 20 years. Now, it appears the showdown has reached its boiling point.

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The Center for Biological Diversity allegedly threatened BLM with a lawsuit in federal court if they didn’t force Bundy’s cattle off the public land. Spokesman Rob Mrowka said,“Despite having no legal right to do so, cattle from Bundy’s ranch have continued to graze throughout the Gold Butte area, competing with tortoises for food, hindering the ability of plants to recover from extensive wildfires, trampling rare plants, damaging ancient American Indian cultural sites and threatening the safety of recreationists.”

The lawsuit is more likely an act of desperation for a floundering cause. Towards the end of last year, federal funds began running out for the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center. The group designed to protect the desert tortoise is now having to deal with the fact that their site is set to close in 2014. 1,400 tortoises are at the center, and have been cared for by them since 1990, when the animal was added to the endangered species list. In preparation for the center’s closure, hundreds of the turtles will be euthanized.

So in the name of protecting a tortoise that the government was set to kill anyway, armed federal rangers and agents have circled the 600,000 acre area of Gold Butte, and have paid a private contractor $1 million to round up Bundy’s cattle, which are grazing there “illegally”. BLM released a statement that seizing the cattle was, “an option of last resort.” However, Bundy refuses to submit to a law that he doesn’t feel obligated to recognize.

In an interview with News 8 in Nevada, Bundy stated, “My forefathers have been up and down the Virgin Valley ever since 1877. All these rights I claim have been created through pre-emptive rights and beneficial use of the forage and water. I have been here longer. My rights are before the BLM even existed.”

Supporters of Bundy have been limited to two fenced in “Free Speech Zones” if they want to protest the government’s actions, and another area miles away off the highway is where the media is allowed. “This has become a police state, and this is an example of it right here,” Bundy said.

The level of force being used in this case is staggering. Bundy told, “They got helicopters flying low. They got snipers around the ranch. Our access to public lands has been blocked.” Bundy is unsure how far the federal government is willing to go to enforce this law, but he’s determined to be the last man standing.

“Years ago, I used to have 52 neighboring ranchers. I’m the last man standing. How come? Because BLM regulated these people off the land and out of business.” Bundy has attempted to pay fees at the local level, but is “not going to pay money for the wrong landlord.” He believes liberty and freedom are at stake. “The federal government has seized Nevada’s sovereignty, Nevada’s statehood. They have seized Nevada’s laws and our public land.”

BLM stated that they, along with the National Park Service, have “made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially.” That argument doesn’t hold much weight as Bundy has been doing the same thing for just as long. “I’ve fought this thing legally. I’ve fought it politically. I’ve fought it through the media. and I will fight it on the ground if I have to,” Bundy said.

This isn’t the first time the federal government has forced violent standoffs to assert their sovereignty. A conflict between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and a Christian sect known as the Branch Davidians resulted in a 51-day siege. The ATF believed the group was hoarding illegal weapons and attempted to serve a search warrant. The incident ended in a blaze that killed 76 men, women, and children. Although Bundy fears this could result in another Waco massacre, he won’t fold.


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  • goalpower

    I hope he’s smart enough to get his family out of harm’s way before he gets them killed due to his stubbornness. I agree with him that what they’re doing is wrong – but you can’t beat the team with bigger guns – even when they’re wrong. Time to give up ranching and do another business.

    • Fletch

      What a legacy to pass on to the next generation: “Time to give up…” I could never agree with that philosophy.
      Thankfully, there are men who disagree with your stance now, as well as throughout history.

    • Deanna Lightner

      “Time to give up ranching and do another business” Would you give up your life’s work because some one came in with all their bullies and said stop or I will kill you? Would you give up your home? Your car? Your kids? Your wife? Your job?Tell me why did our fore fathers fight for our freedoms again? I thought it was to fight against this very thing. To give us freedom from tyranny, freedom from our lands taken without cause? Freedom to enjoy our rights to Life, Liberty, and FREEDOM for ALL, not just for a select few privileged individuals but for all. Personally I will join him in his fight to keep his lands, cattle and way of life. Nobody has the right to force or expect any one to give up their “business” because of some one else’s wrong doing. Not even our government should be allowed to break our own constitutional laws to achieve their ill begotten gains to get their way. So no he and as well as others need to stand up and support this Ranchers way of life and stop the governments greedy hands from just “taking” what they want. So instead of rolling over and playing the yellow-belly wimp step up and support ALL our rights!!!!!

    • M.TWAIN11

      How much is Liberty worth? What price Freedom? There are times when faced with tyranny that one has to stand up for for his family and country. Now the BLM has set up a “free speech zone”? America is our free speech zone. The constitution does not have physical borders. This man is just trying to manage his ranch business as his family has operated there since 1877. Meanwhile to the south, the feds look the other way as foreign nationals cross our borders unlawfully. It seems they have more rights then we do anymore.

    • goalpower

      I am not telling him to back down – I am simply hoping he gets his family out of the way – cause the feds will find a way to martyr this man when he doesn’t back down. I would sure as shit tell them to piss off myself – but my wife and daughter would be living far from the ranch at that point.

  • John Ferris

    Bundy: Call Harry Reid. Bet that crooked s.o.b. knows who to pay off to get your problem solved!

  • Albert

    So, he kills cattle for a living, and I’m supposed to side with him?

  • Mark Eric Terry

    This is idiotic.

    You cannot pick and choose what laws you do and do not abide by because you don’t agree with them, do that and society breaks down. This guy isn’t a libertarian, and shouldn’t be held up as one, he’s an anarchist.

  • David Caudillo

    This is THE most detailed report of this story that I have read. Once can basically learn everything they need to know just from reading this. I can’t say that about any of the other articles. Thank you.